27 September 2023

Cemetery review goes down well

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A review of the management of cemeteries and crematoriums in the ACT has invited members of the community to join in focus groups or respond to a survey as part of its consultation process.

The Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 sets out the framework for burials and cremations in the ACT and an inquiry into the management of ACT cemeteries in 2017 recommended the Act be reviewed and that community preferences be monitored.

Minister for City Services, Chris Steel said the review would explore a diverse range of burial, cremation and similar services likely to meet the needs of all Canberrans now and into the future as emerging and alternative practices are introduced.

“We understand that this is a sensitive topic and that is why we want to have a serious conversation with the community about the sustainability of our cemeteries,” Mr Steel said.

“We will be asking the community if the current burial and cremation services in the ACT meet the needs of all religious and culturally diverse backgrounds and if they are interested in alternative burial and cremation practices.”

He said the review would also look at the sustainability of cemeteries and crematoriums in the ACT, with consideration to be given to the current tenure of burial sites.

“Renewable tenure refers to the process of purchasing rights for use of a burial site (or other interment site) for a specified period of time only, rather than forever, creating the opportunity to provide ongoing cemetery capacity,” Mr Steel said.

“Renewable tenure of burial sites is not a new concept and is being adopted widely, including in NSW, Western Australia and South Australia where the tenure periods for burial sites start at 25 years and range up to 99 years.

He said there was no suggestion that that any renewable tenure scheme would apply retrospectively, and if it was introduced there would still be the option to purchase a site in perpetuity.

Mr Steel said expressions of interest were now open for participation in focus groups and members of the public could also complete a survey online or in hard copy at any branch of ACT Libraries.

Consultation closes on 10 December and the survey can be accessed on the YourSay website at this PS News link.

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